Monday, 16 May 2011

The Secret Files of the Inquisition

The Inquisition was used to enforce Catholic Orthodoxy around the world for hundreds of years. The meticulously kept records of the Inquisitors were locked away for centuries. Finally in 1998 the Vatican opened the archive of the Holy Office of the Inquisition on a limited basis. Based on these previously unreleased secret documents, The Secret Files of the Inquisition reveals the true story of the Catholic Church’s  ruthless, attempts to remain the world’s only religion.  

After watching the following series one has to wonder what was Not released!

This four part series  is a description of a time in history when fanaticism brought horrors upon all people and dragged the world into a dark age that would remain for centuries. One sees how those in power, when that power is threatened, move to eliminate any who disagree with their opinions.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it
                                                                                       ...George Santayana

In our times, are we now destined to repeat the mistakes of the past? May we merit to learn from the past and avoid their atrocities.

The Secret Files of the Inquisition~Episode 1~Root Out Heretics
Although the Church of Rome proclaimed itself the only true religion, heresy took hold, causing the pope to declare holy war, even against other Christian followers. Inquisitors were sent to exterminate the heretics by hunting down, then condemning them to burn at the stake. In 1308 the entire village of Montaillou was taken prisoner by the Inquisition. No one was safe.

Jacques Fournier who conducted the final inquisition, eventually became a Cardinal and seven years after that he became Pope Benedict XII. It is interesting to note that Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope Benedict XVI, in November 1981, became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition (from which come the names Roman Inquisition or Holy Inquisition).
Part 1 of 4

Secret Files of the Inquisition: Episode 2~Tears of Spain
In Iberia (not yet known as Spain) Christians, Muslims and Jews lived in tolerance for centuries until 1468. A young King (Ferdinand) and Queen (Isabella) proclaimed themselves Catholic Monarchs and instituted their own Inquisition. Thousands perished in a ritual called the act of faith. When the head inquisitor was assassinated In Zaragossa a wave of reprisals began. Perhaps those who suffered the most were the Conversos, Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity. They were accused of secretly sabotaging the Christian faith but the truth was that many had became jealous of their success and chose to denounce them,  which resulted in their torture, death or expulsion. And of course the confiscation of all of their earthly goods which were shared between the church and state. Because Ferdinand and Isabella, did not want to give any power to Rome their personal "Spanish Empire" Inquisition took hold and resulted in a darkness that would grip the land and last for centuries.

Part 2 of 4

Secret Files of the Inquisition: Episode 3~The War of Ideas
Venice was home to many new ideas, including the dawn of medicine. New ideas, however , were considered to be against the church--satanic. In 1522 the decadence of a Medici Pope in Rome caused a devout priest named Martin Luther to take action. In the wake of this Protestant Reformation, a fanatical monk decided to exterminate all heresy. Impressed by the power of the Spanish Inquisition he adopted the same tactics. His path to power resulted in the Roman Inquisition. In 1559 Pope Paul IV created his Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books). Powerful leaders of the Catholic Church were soon arrested and imprisoned, accused of reading books banned by the Church. Free-thinking students, including those who had an interest in science and medicine were silenced. Jews were particularly targeted--all of their Holy Books and Commentaries were burned, except the Tanach, which was known as the "Old Testament". Darkness descended on all the centers of learning. The Roman Inquisition left a legacy that lasted into the twentieth century. Indeed, their list of "Prohibited Books" was not formally abolished until 1966!

Part 3 of 4

Secret Files of the Inquisition: Episode 4~The End Of Inquisition
In Bologna, Italian Jews were confined to ghettos, forbidden to associate with Christians, own property, attend University or travel freely--all these laws were enforced by the Inquisition. Napoleon wanted to spread the ideas of the Enlightenment, and tore down the walls of the ghettos giving the Jews freedom. He conquered Italy, abolishing the Inquisition and ordered its files sent to Paris. When a Jewish boy was kidnapped on 24 June 1858, his devoted father would spend the next twelve years fighting to get his son back. The secret files of the Inquisition had been locked away for centuries, but one Spanish priest devotes his life to exposing the brutal records. Spain's greatest painter,  Francisco de Goya, was called before the Inquisition for painting a nude woman. When he made a painting depicting the horror of the Inquisition Trials he had to flee for his life.

In 1908 the name of the Holy Office of the Inquisition was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
Part 4 of 4

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